Persian Gulf & Middle East Military News, Reports, Data, etc.


TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
Odds of statistics. The more active you are the more likely you are to have an accident. They will be investigated. Wait until the results before spinning narrative.
 

Khalij e Fars

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Via Sputnik. Nice hustling by STC. Handling i meant :p
More than $200 million in cash indeed seized by STC fighters in South Yemen. STC rejected the corrupt practices of the KSA-backed forces that have failed to address the needs of the citizens of South Yemen.

KSA-backed Hadi militants have strongly condemned the move and called on KSA to intervene militarily against the STC:


Translation said:
The government looks forward to the brothers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the guarantor of the Riyadh agreement, to take a clear and explicit stance towards the practices and violations of the so-called [STC] transitional council, and stresses its constitutional right and its ability to address this insurgency by all legitimate means militarily, politically, legally and in full.
 

Khalij e Fars

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WTO tells Saudi to obey global rules in Qatar broadcast dispute

A World Trade Organization panel ordered Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to adhere to global intellectual property rules in a ruling on a dispute with Qatar which accuses Riyadh of blocking its broadcaster after the Persian Gulf neighbours fell out in 2017.

Doha filed its complaint in 2018, saying Saudi Arabia was blocking Qatari-owned broadcaster beIN and refusing to take effective action against alleged piracy of beIN’s content by “beoutQ”, a sophisticated pirating operation.

The three-person panel ruled that Saudi Arabia’s failure to act against beoutQ was a breach of WTO rules. “...the Panel recommends that Saudi Arabia bring its measures into conformity with its obligations under the TRIPS Agreement,” it concluded, in reference to a global pact on intellectual property.

However, the panel also supported Saudi Arabia’s view that it could block Qatar’s broadcaster from obtaining legal counsel in Saudi Arabia on grounds of national security.

“Qatar comes out ahead overall,” said a trade official familiar with the ruling.

Qatar described the ruling as a “resounding victory” and said that Saudi Arabia needed to respect the rights of high profile sports and entertainment.

Riyadh can appeal the ruling although the appeal could fall into a legal void since the WTO’s Appellate Body does not have enough judges to handle new cases.

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Khalij e Fars

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UAE-backed militias stage ‘coup’ in Yemen’s Socotra

The [Saudi-backed] Yemeni government [Hadi regime] on Saturday said that the militia of Southern Transition Council staged “a full-fledged coup in the governorate of Socotra," a government official said.

Quoting an unnamed government official, Yemen’s official news agency reported: "The militias of the so-called Transitional Council in the Socotra carried out a full-fledged coup that undermined state institutions in the province."

“These militias launched an attack with various medium and heavy weapons, targeting state institutions and citizens' properties, and stormed government camps and headquarters as well,” the official said.

The official called on the Saudi-led coalition to help "stop the mess, chaos and aggression carried out by militia and implement the provisions of the Riyadh agreement."

Last week, the STC declared self-governance and a state of emergency in the temporary capital of Aden and southern provinces, which caused tensions in Socotra as well as other provinces in the south.

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Khalij e Fars

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The end of the Arab world’s oil age is nigh

Pain will be felt across the region

THEIR BUDGETS don’t add up anymore. Algeria needs the price of Brent crude, an international benchmark for oil, to rise to $157 dollars a barrel. Oman needs it to hit $87. No Arab oil producer, save tiny Qatar, can balance its books at the current price, around $40 (see chart).

So some are taking drastic steps. In May the Algerian government said it would slice spending in half. The new prime minister of Iraq, one of the world’s largest oil producers, wants to take an axe to government salaries. Oman is struggling to borrow after credit-rating agencies listed its debt as junk. Kuwait’s deficit could hit 40% of GDP, the highest level in the world.

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But don’t be fooled. The world’s economies are moving away from fossil fuels. Oversupply and the increasing competitiveness of cleaner energy sources mean that oil may stay cheap for the foreseeable future. The recent turmoil in oil markets is not an aberration; it is a glimpse of the future. The world has entered an era of low prices—and no region will be more affected than the Middle East and north Africa.

Arab leaders knew that sky-high oil prices would not last for ever. Four years ago Muhammad bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, produced a plan called “Vision 2030” that aimed to wean his economy off oil. Many of his neighbours have their own versions. But “2030 has become 2020,” says a consultant to Prince Muhammad. Oil revenues in the Middle East and north Africa, which produces more of the black stuff than any other region, fell from over $1trn in 2012 to $575bn in 2019, says the IMF. This year Arab countries are expected to earn about $300bn selling oil, not nearly enough to cover their spending. Since March they have cut, taxed and borrowed. Many are burning through cash reserves meant to fund reform.

There is sure to be resistance along the way. Start with the region’s wealthiest oil producers, which can cope with low prices in the short run. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have huge sovereign-wealth funds. Saudi Arabia, the region’s largest economy, has foreign reserves worth $444bn, enough to cover two years of spending at the current rate.

But they have all been hit hard by the pandemic, as well as low oil prices. And they have long overspent. In February, before the coronavirus broke out in the Persian Gulf, the IMF predicted that the countries of the [Persian] Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC)—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE—would exhaust their $2trn of reserves by 2034. Since then Saudi Arabia has spent at least $45bn of its cash. If it continues at that pace for another six months it would strain the Saudi rial’s peg to the dollar. Devaluation would hit real incomes hard in a country which imports almost everything. Officials are worried. “We are facing a crisis the world has never seen the likes of in modern history,” says Muhammad al-Jadaan, the [Saudi] finance minister.

In an attempt to balance the books, Saudi Arabia has suspended a cost-of-living allowance for state workers, raised petrol prices and tripled its sales tax. Even so, the budget deficit could exceed $110bn this year (16% of GDP). More taxes—perhaps on businesses, income and land—could follow. But raising taxes risks further depressing commerce, which has been hobbled in order to contain the coronavirus.

The kingdom had hoped an increase in religious and leisure tourism would at least partially compensate for the decline in oil revenue. That now seems a fantasy. The holy city of Mecca has been closed to foreigners since February. Last year the annual haj drew 2.6m pilgrims; this year it has been capped at around 1,000. “The kingdom is stuck in the oil dependency it needs to climb out of to survive,” says Farouk Soussa of Goldman Sachs, a bank.

Meanwhile, public anger is growing. Saudis mutter about the new taxes, which fall most heavily on the poor. “Why is MBS not taxing the rich?” gripe the jobless on social media, referring to Prince Muhammad by his initials. “Why doesn’t he sell his yacht and live like us?” asks a mother of four from the north, where the prince is building more palaces. In Iraq officials enraged by pay cuts have thrown their support behind a protest movement that is seeking to topple the entire political system. In Algeria, where income per person has fallen from $5,600 in 2012 to under $4,000 today, protesters are drifting back to the streets. The region’s rulers can no longer afford to buy the public’s loyalty.

Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE gave Egypt about $30bn in aid after 2013, when Mr Sisi overthrew an elected Islamist government. The Sunni leadership in Lebanon has long been a client of the Persian Gulf states. Rafik Hariri, who led the country after its civil war, made his fortune as a contractor in Saudi Arabia. His son Saad, who also served as prime minister, holds Saudi citizenship. The [Persian] GCC has bailed out Jordan twice in the past decade.

In recent years, though, funding has started to dry up. Partly this is due to political disputes. Seen from Riyadh or Abu Dhabi, many Arab states they once subsidised now look like bad investments. The Saudis are frustrated that Mr Sisi did not send troops to support their ill-fated invasion of Yemen, and that the younger Mr Hariri was too tolerant of Hizbullah, the Shia militia and political party backed by Iran. Their diminishing largesse also reflects their diminishing fortunes. Egypt has not received any money in years. No one from the Persian Gulf looks willing to bail out Lebanon. Jordan had to plead to receive a five-year, $2.5bn aid package from the Persian Gulf in 2018, half of what it got in 2011. None of this is necessarily bad: many Arabs would appreciate less foreign influence in their countries. But it will add to the financial pressure on their own indebted governments.

It may also presage a broader change in the region’s politics. For four decades America has followed the “Carter Doctrine”, which held that it would use military force to maintain the free flow of oil through the Persian Gulf. Under President Donald Trump, though, the doctrine has started to fray. When Iranian-made cruise missiles and drones slammed into Saudi oil facilities in September, America barely blinked. The Patriot missile-defence batteries it deployed to the kingdom weeks later have already been withdrawn. Outside the Persian Gulf Mr Trump has been even less engaged, all but ignoring the chaos in Libya, where Russia, Turkey and the UAE (to name but a few) are vying for control.

A Middle East less central to the world’s energy supplies will be a Middle East less important to America. Russia may fill the void in places, but its regional interests are narrow, such as its determination to preserve its Mediterranean port at Tartus in Syria. It does not wish to—and probably cannot—extend a security umbrella across the Arabian peninsula. China has tried to stay out of the region’s politics, pursuing only economic benefits: construction contracts in Algeria, port concessions in Egypt, a wide range of deals in the Persian Gulf.

As Arab states become poorer, though, the nature of their relationship with China may change. This is already happening in Iran, where American sanctions have choked off oil revenue. Officials are discussing a long-term investment deal that could see Chinese firms develop everything from ports to telecoms. It is framed as a “strategic partnership”, but critics worry it could leave China in control of the infrastructure it builds, as it has in some indebted Asian and African countries. Falling oil revenue could force this model on Arab states—and perhaps complicate what remains of their relations with America.

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Khalij e Fars

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US-led coalition turns over military base to Iraqi army

Besmaya base came under rocket attacks on Friday

The US-led coalition against the Daesh/ISIS terror group on Saturday handed over the Besmaya military base in south of Baghdad to the Iraqi forces.

On Friday, the military base had come under rocket fire, according to the Iraqi military.

In recent months, the US-led coalition had pulled out from six military bases in northern and western Iraq and handed them over to the Iraqi army.

The pullout comes amid rising attacks by Iranian-backed Iraqi militias on bases housing US diplomats and troops.

US officials have repeatedly accused the Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades, which operates under the umbrella of the Popular Mobilization Forces (Hashd al-Shaabi), of launching rocket attacks on military bases that host US troops and other facilities in Iraq.

Such attacks have increased since the US assassinated Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in a drone attack in Baghdad in early January.

Iran retaliated the assassination with missile attacks on Iraqi bases housing US soldiers [injuring 110 US soldiers].

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7th US military base in Iraq that the US has left and handed over to Iraq since the illegal assassination of Qasem Soleimani.
 

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